But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." (Luke 22:60-61).
For the general populace there are seven birds that are readily recognizable by their song: 1) the goose that honks, 2) the duck that quacks, 3) the chicken that clucks, 4) the dove that coos, 5) the owl that hoots, 6) the crow that caws, and 7) the rooster that crows. Each of these are so distinct that the moment one hears them, right away we know what kind of bird it is.
Other birds are a bit more indiscernible to the untrained ear. The whistle of a robin may not be all that different from a bluejay, or a cardinal. The chirp of a sparrow and of a wren are very much alike indeed. And who knows what kind of bird that is we all hear in the Tarzan movies? You know, the one that squeals somewhere in the jungle during the night, and sends shivers down your spine.
Interesting, don't you think, that Jesus would choose a rooster to bring Simon Peter to his senses during that dark night of betrayal and denial? When we say someone is cocky, we are comparing them to the rooster. A person who "struts their stuff" is kin to the barnyard fowl. It seems that the rooster is forever associated with prideful boasting since the night Peter denied the Lord.
But, beyond this, the rooster also symbolizes two other things for us today.
First, he is the herald of a new dawn. When the rooster crows it means only one thing; a new day is at hand. So, while Peter would be stung by the sound that jolted his mind back to the words of the Lord, the sting also carried promise of a new day -- a fresh chance to walk with Him whose mercies are new every morning.
Second, the rooster was for Simon Peter a messenger with a personal word from God. No doubt many heard the rooster crow that morning, but nobody heard what Peter heard. For in the routine sounds of the ordinary he discovered the God who speaks through donkeys and roosters. And from that day forward, Peter would never be able to hear a rooster again without thinking of this one moment in his life.
A moment of devastating failure......and of great forgiveness. A moment of death and resurrection; certainly for Jesus -- but also for Peter.
How about you? Heard any Roosters lately?